A group of local volunteers is preparing for the annual Cortez Christmas dinner.
The event has been a Cortez tradition for more than 25 years, and organizer Mitchell Toms said it usually draws about 300 people. Like in previous years, volunteers will serve a free turkey dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Montezuma County annex building on 103 N. Chestnut St. It will feature food and beverages from several businesses and organizations, including Spruce Tree Espresso House and the Cortez Future Farmers of America, and live music from Audrey Allmon and her band.
In addition to those providing food, several organizations will pitch in to help make the event run smoothly. Volunteers from the Cortez Cultural Center will deliver meals to those who can’t make it to the annex building, and the RE-1 school district will open its warehouses for use in food delivery and temporary storage. Mayor Karen Sheek said in a news release that Cliffrose and Four Seasons Greenhouse donate poinsettias every year to brighten up the building.
Volunteers will be needed the day before Christmas to help set up tables and decorations, and from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the event. Sheek said people can volunteer for an hour or for the whole event. Toms said volunteers are particularly needed for the after-dinner cleanup.
He also said the dinner is as much about friendship between Cortez residents as it is about the food.
“Some people just come to have a cup of coffee with their friends,” he said. “It’s for the entire community.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to the event, volunteer or sign up for home meal delivery can contact the Cortez Cultural Center at 565-1151.
Financial donations can be made at Four Corners Community Bank or Vectra Bank. Toms asked anyone donating food to give desserts such as pies or cookies, and not turkeys, which are purchased well in advance.
“The holiday season is the time of year when we all have a sense of hope that the world can be a better place,” Sheek wrote in her release. “In Cortez, that hope is translated into action by people who participate in and carry on a tradition that is the essence of what Christmas means – giving to others.”